In Winter, Birds Flock Together

In the U.S.A. All across the northern states snow has arrived and will only get worse until next springs thaw.

Hummingbirds and many other mitigatory birds have moved south to their warm, Mexican winter feeding grounds and will not return until next spring to feed and nest in the United States and Canada.

Now is the time to erect your wild bird feeding station and to start a feeding routine for your New or Old feeders. During cold freezing weather and snow events, many birds will die of starvation and dehydration without your help. Most importantly they need ready access to quality foods and open(unfrozen) water stations.

birds-in-winter To provide unfrozen water for wild birds I use 2 two gallon metal chicken water containers, one outside for the wild birds the other inside my hen house for my laying hens, both with a special heater to keep the water cans from freezing solid in below freezing temperatures. You can find these at most farm and ranch or local feed stores.

Caution I recommend that you wear rubber ‘washable gloves’ do not disturb the nest materials more than needed to remove them from houses. Many houses and much nest material may be infested with mites! If you can burn nest materials to kill mites or bag and tightly seal, sending it to the landfill.

Clean out old nesting materials from your bird houses and if you can afford to do so, erect more houses around your yard and garden. Wild birds will use the houses to shelter themselves from winters cold, snow and ice storms and as a safe place to roost at night. …Grin… try to remember, those cute store bought bird houses are designed to attract your attention, to say buy-me. Wild birds really don’t care what a bird house or feeder looks like!

I guess this can qualify as my weekly rant! I have several bird feeders and truly enjoy watching the birds at my feeders. Currently my feeder station is located about 25 feet from my backdoor in my chicken pen. I wish I had placed it closer to the house, but, hind site is always 20/20.

Being in my chicken pen no feed is wasted. Dove are ground feeders and the dove and my laying hens keep any feed dropped from the feeders cleaned up before it is discovered by a rat, mouse, starlings, grackles or rabbits. I’m thankful that I don’t have to deal with squirrels.

My regular free loaders are cardinals {redbirds}, 3 different species of hummingbirds, and an assortment crested and house finches, sparrows, red-wing blackbirds, scissor tailed fly catchers, dove and a covey of quail come by from time to time. I get the odd black cap chickadee and a few Wrens that I have not identified yet. This is a mixture of birds I’m glad to see but sad as well.

Now the rant part. Our native Mourning dove has been for the most part displaced by the Eurasian collared dove, known locally as the ring neck dove. They arrived in the USA as pets and were unleashed upon us by stupid, lazy owners and some escaped into the wild when pet shops were damaged in hurricanes. To make things worse to day I had a pair of dove at my feeder that as of yet I have not identified!

In the past 20 or so years, Grackles have arrived from Mexico, European Starlings, English Sparrows, white egrets and other non-natives are displacing our-less aggressive native birds.

If you live near a pond or small lake, you may as I do, have a few pair of Canadian Geese over wintering. Taking advantage of bird feed dropped on the ground by other birds feeding at your feeder station and grazing on local farmers fields of wheat, rye, oats and such.

For some reason unknown to me. I no longer see many Bluebirds or Blue Jays I don’t know where they have gone! To top everything off, last winters Ice Storm took down my Purple Martin House and I could not repair it…. I slacked off and failed to get a new one up for this seasons birds.. I guess I can’t blame this one on anyone except myself. I hate it when that happens 🙂

Useful Hint After making this posting, I saw a neat, easy and cheap way to make a bird feeder from a recycled plastic Lysol wipe container and a fence post to set it on.
Lysol-wipe bird feeder

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14 responses to “In Winter, Birds Flock Together

  1. I think the Blue Jays and Bluebirds have come to Central and Northern California. They were missing around these parts for several years but they returned last (2012) along with the hummingbirds. Thanks for sharing this post! I love our little bird friends. It’s good to see the Blue Jays and little hummingbirds back.

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  2. Canadian geese. I live in North Central Arkansas on the White River. We have a lot of blue birds here, Cardinals all year, woodpeckers and from warm spring until the migrating geese come through, we have hummingbirds by the dozens. I had seen a documentary about hummingbirds heading south riding on the backs of geese. We had a flock of geese land in the pasture across from us and believe it or not, after having the dozens of hummingbirds all summer, when the geese left we’ve not had a single hummingbird remaining again this year.
    I never thought much about it last year when it happened, I didn’t connect the two, but this year the same thing happened. It’s almost as if the geese came down and said, “okay, it’s time to go.” and the hummingbirds hitched a ride.

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  3. Pingback: Repurpose CD rack into bird watering station | The Clutter Removing Erythrocyte

  4. Pingback: DIY birdfeeder from empty Lysol wipes container | The Clutter Removing Erythrocyte

  5. I love watching our little feathered friends–it always puts a smile on my face! Happy Nesting!

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  6. I have so much to learn! Last weekend we were up on our new property and I took the time to clean out, and refill the old bird feeders. What I didn’t think of was emptying and cleaning the over a dozen bird houses that are there from the previous owners of the place! We will be up there again tomorrow and I will make the time to do that service for the locals. We don’t have much snow in these parts, but it was down in the low 20’s last night. Thank you for the reminder!

    PS: I thought the Egrets and the Canadian Geese were migratory, and as such it was in their nature to fly from the north to the south in fall, and vice versa in the spring?

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    • Re Lynda – I never see any egrets trying to over winter here but being in zone 7, it is not uncommon to see a pair or two of Canadian Geese over wintering where they feel safe and have open water, like a pond, and a good food supply.
      Happy Holidays

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  7. I’m in Canada where these birds start their journey from. Is there anything I can do to help? Does water or a feeder help from my small backyard?

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    • Re sedrate organizes – Even though the migrating birds will soon be moving south, your native birds will benefit from good quality food supply and an open unfrozen fresh water source. Keeping food and water available all winter, you may be surprised at the number and how many different varieties of birds over winter in your area.
      Thanks for taking time to visit me here in SW Oklahoma and your kind comment(s)

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  8. I never heard of these birds and just spent some time educating myself. Interesting but a little scary as to how quickly they’ve spread across the continent.
    I’ll keep my eyes open since it sounds like it’s just a matter of time until they show up here at the feeder.
    thanks!

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